tv PBS News Hour PBS May 9, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: president obama today said definitively he now believes same-sex marriage should be legal. good evening, i'm jeffrey brown. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the "newshour" tonight, we'll explore the president's evolution on the issue and talk about the debate going forward. >> brown: then, we turn to the political upset in indiana, where a tea party candidate toppled veteran senator richard lugar. >> ifill: we get new details about the would-be suicide bomber who was a double agent cooperating with the c.i.a. to foil an al-qaeda bomb plot. >> brown: from cambodia, fred de sam lazaro reports on one group's efforts to help homeless children have a brighter future. >> in make-shift gatherings like this one-part kindergarten part clinic, the children come to get
cuts and scratches tended, to play board games or a rare luxury: to shampoo their hair. >> ifill: and ray suarez talks with steven lee myers of the new york times about the high-level, diplomatic drama that freed a chinese activist. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> citi turns 200 this year. in that time, there have been some good days and some difficult ones.
but through it all, we persevered. supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement. and the next great idea could be yours. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
>> ifill: the president's announcement that he personally supports same sex marriage ended years of uncertainty and days of political upheaval. it came in an interview with "good morning america's" robin roberts for abc news. judy woodruff has the story. >> at a certain point, i just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that i think same sex couples should be able to get married. >> woodruff: with that statement president obama became the first american president to endorse same-sex marriage. until now, he had stuck with what he said back in 2010: >> as i've said, my feelings about this are constantly evolving. i struggle with this. >> woodruff: and today, the president offered this explanation for why he had waited. >> i've stood on the side of broader equality for the
l.g.b.t. community, and i had hesitated on gay marriage in part because i thought civil unions would be sufficient. and i was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word marriage was something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth. >> woodruff: but then came sunday and this statement by vice president biden, vaulting the issue back into the political spotlight. >> i am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying, are entitled to the same, exact rights-- all the >> woodruff: but today, republican presidential candidate mitt romney reinforced his own position against gay marriage. >> my view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman. and that's my own preference. i know other people have differing views.
this is a very tender and sensitive topic, as are many social issues. i have the same view that i had since-- well, since running for office. >> woodruff: and yesterday, voters in north carolina voted overwhelmingly to amend the state constitution, banning same-sex marriage. in all, 30 states have now taken that step. we turn now to kerry eleveld, an author and journalist who covered the obama white house for "the advocate," a national gay and lesbian news magazine. kelly eleveld, thank you for joining us. do you know why president obama decided to make a statement now? >> well, based on your reporting, too, you saw in the piece you put out the conversation around this had just really amped up. the tenor had just really gotten really high and heated and i think vice president biden's
comments-- which most and gays and lesbians really, really welcomed because he talked about marriage as being a commitment and how lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender americans want to participate in that type of commitment ceremony and have it be called a marriage-- those advanced the conversation and people were excited to see that. then you had white house aides trying to walk back that statement and i think what happened is that really worked against them. so the president was sort of put in a position where he needed to clarify if you watch the white house press briefing on monday the white house press secretary jay carney, i almost felt sorry for him. he... the only thing he could really say is "i have no updates for you." and he said it about 13 to 15 times during that briefing. so the white house had to do something. >> woodruff: tell us, how did his position evolve? he talked about it evolving. >> yeah. well, it sort of devolved before
it evolved. in 1996 when he was running for state senate in illinois he signed a candidate questionnaire that said "i favor legalizing same-sex marriage." and he used the specific words "same-sex marriage" and would oppose any efforts to prohibit same-sex marriages. so then... though i think as he went along in his candidacy, you know, he was running in chicago, it's a pretty liberal area. then he runs for statewide senate in illinois and that's a slightly more moderate electorate, he tamped back down at that point, took it back and said well i favor civil unions. and that was... being pro-civil union was his position all throughout 2004 and then the 2008 election and, of course, there wasn't a whole lot of pressure for him to change that in the 2008 election because the people he was duking it out with, john edwards and hillary clinton at the time, they held the very same position. and, you know, l.g.b.t.
advocates seemed sort of okay at that point with letting them set into that position in 2008. >> woodruff: so just quickly and finally, how big a thing is it that he has come out now and made this statement? >> i don't think i can overstress how important this is. this moves the conversation forward across the country. so these conversations that people are having at their kitchen tables, for people who were sort of waffling, you know, i think this is a huge positive step for them to say, okay, well the president of the united states thinks this is an important thing and he wanted to affirm it. then on top of that, if we ever have something go to the supreme court, i think it will be very important what the highest office holder in our land thinks about same-sex marriage as well as the polling, as well as how many states have legalized it. we like to pretend that the supreme court lives in a bubble but they do not. those justices live among us. >> woodruff: kerry eleveld, thank you very much. >> thank you.
we get two views now on the president's announcement and its significance. evan wolfson is the president and founder of freedom to marry, a leading organization seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in states around the country. and the reverend harry jackson is senior pastor of hope christian church in beltsville, maryland, presiding bishop of the international communion of evangelical churches, and an outspoken opponent of gay marriage. reverend jackson, what does it mean to you what the president said? >> well, i believe he's been dealing with this for a long time and the motivation was to ramp up kind of momentum for same-sex marriage t same-sex marriage movement. as was stated earlier, i think at the supreme court level they're going to have to gauge whether this is a really big deal for americans or not and i think my side has got to really step up and let itself... let our cards be known or put our cards out there and in maryland specifically i think there's going to be a backlash in that
our efforts were going very well to get signatures all ready. i think even more people will come out, sign up and say i'm against same-sex marriage. >> woodruff: signatures on a petition to outlaw gay marriage in the state of maryland. >> exactly. attempting to put a marriage amendment on the ballot this november. >> woodruff: which in maryland it's now legal. >> it's now legal but hasn't gone into effect yet. >> woodruff: evan wolfson, what about you? let me ask you, what does it mean to you what the president said today? >> i think it means a great deal to have the president of the united states show his moral leadership and say this is a question of fairness and treating others as we would want to be treated and upholding the guarantees all americans are entitled to under the law. this is not about telling church what is to do, this is about who can get a civil or legal marriage license from the government. but what also made it meaningful was the heart felt personal way in which both the president and vice president talked about how they had changed their mind, how they had hoped their hearts.
they talked about conversations with real families, with their own families, and how it triggered their thinking about what the right way to treat other people is. and i think that kind of personal heart felt engagement is exactly the journey that a majority of americans have been on and it will help others who have been wrestling with this question resolve on the side of fairness. >> woodruff: so reverend jackson, do you see this helping the cause of those who favor the legalization of gay marriage? because right now most states say it's not legal for people of the same sex. >> i don't think it will really help them. i think it will really bring this thing to a head. meaning a lot of folks feel like i can just sit and wait and it will take care of itself. i think the president weighing in will cause a response and i think... >> woodruff: across the country you're saying? >> really across the country. there are four other jurisdictions including maryland who are going to be looking at a marriage amendment and, again, because of the supreme court's intervention eventually on this
issue the nation has to get involved and i think we're going to finally say, hey, we're going to deal with this now in this season of time and i think you're going to see a polarization first and then the supreme court is going to have to deal with it. and we're going to win in maryland. there's going to be an amendment and the law is going to be struck down. all that will have to be dealt with at that level. >> woodruff: evan wolfson, do you see the public reaction playing out the way reverend jackson does? >> no, i think it's just the opposite. i think the more americans have had a chance to not talk about hypotheticals and abstractions now talk about real people, couples building a life together, sharing love, sharing commitment, wanting to celebrate and strengthen their families, raising kids, worrying about their aging parents americans have moved-- as the president did today, as the vice president talked about-- in the direction of embracing the freedom to marry. and, you know, we ended marriage discrimination here in new york about a year ago and gay people were able to begin marrying,
families were able to celebrate, loved ones, nongay as well as gay, were able to witness and hold those couples accountable for their vows of commitment to one another and the gay people didn't use up all the marriage licenses. nothing bad happened. no one was hurt. but families were strengthened and that's exactly why americans have moved in the direction of support for the freedom to marry. >> woodruff: what do you make of that, reverend jackson? this personal reaction that he's describing that may happen on the part of individuals who are gay and their family members and loved ones? >> i think the whole nation is going to look at this personally. myself, i think about what will happen to our kids, what are they going to be taught at the youngest of ages. heather has two mommies at a second grade level, is that what we really want to have happen? is this more of a recruiting mechanism for the gay life-style as opposed to a genuine legitimate absence of civil rights? i haven't seen a lot of gay people in the back of the bus recently or lynched or some of the things that blacks went
through. so we've got to... >> woodruff: what are you saying? >> what am i saying? i'm saying that the tenor today of what it means to be gay or lesbian, there is not that same kind of oppression and opposition, though it's always bandied about that it's just like that black civil rights movement. i think it's really more a conceptual thing, a brass ring that folks are going after. but it may be an experiment that begins to shift the very nature of and the foundation of our marital system in our great united states. >> woodruff: just so that i understand, are you predicting that that's the kind of reaction... that there's going to be a much more negative much more even violent reaction? >> no, no, no. >> woodruff: i just want to make sure i understand what you're saying. >> i'm saying the image ray for the last four years at least has been that black civil rights and the gay rights issue are one in the same. they're different time frames but they're the same kind of civil rights issue. i think you're changing the
definition of marriage is really apples and oranges. it's not like the black civil rights structure per say. many african americans feel that way and that's why they voted against same-sex marriage in florida, also california et cetera. >> but you know something... >> woodruff: go ahead. >> well, first of all, marriage is not defined by who's denied it. there's enough marriage to share and when gay couples get married it means they take on a commitment in law that matches the personal commitment they've made in life. it doesn't change anybody else's marriage. it doesn't take away anybody else's marriage. >> it may change the institution, though, that's the issue. >> well, you know, i understand that you say that, but you know in washington, d.c. when we ended marriage discrimination and couples began getting married, most of those couples who got married were african american couples. couples raising kids. couples worrying about their parents and taking care. those families are stronger today in the african american community as in latino
communities as in communities across the country and no one has had anything taken away from them. there's no way in which couples sharing in marriage and families getting stronger takes anything away from anyone else. but what it does do is make those couples better able to deal with tough economic times, to be there for one another, and to have the meaning and respect and love and commitment celebrated by their family and loved ones, their children, their parents and the country. and you're not able to point to a single actual real consequence, but what you try to do is bring up these kinds of talking points that have been bandied about but have been proven to not be true in washington, d.c., in massachusetts, in connecticut, in iowa. >> woodruff: let's it will him... why don't you respond? >> the divorce laws are being changed in d.c. as we stand. folks have wanted to get unmarried who were... gotten married under the same-sex marriage law. so it isn't all... >> but don't nongay people sometimes get divorced?
>> well, let me talk. you had a chance, you had your chance. so it isn't all peaches and cream and the projection that everybody who disagrees is a bigot is really over the top and, you know, the talking down, all of this stuff, is really not fair because you're making an experiment with what will happen to the next generations of americans and what the very, very foundation of the greatest institution, the foundational institution of all humankind looks like in the years to come. it's a big decision. >> woodruff: evan wolfson, one final comment. >> i think president obama is a pretty thoughtful, serious guy and he obviously put a lot of time and thought and talked to a lot of people before announcing his position today and really resolving this question. i don't think this president would take a position that he thought was going to do damage. i think what he's doing is standing up for families and freedom in our country and our country's going to be better for it and i salute the president for his stand today. >> woodruff: gentlemen, we
thank you both for being here this evening. evan wolfson in new york, reverend jackson here in washington. thank you. >> brown: still to come on the "newshour": political upheaval in indiana; the double agent who thwarted the bomb plot; a normal childhood for homeless kids in cambodia and the diplomatic maneuvering to free a dissident in china. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> holman: greece remained at a political impasse today. the second-place finisher in sunday's election-- a radical left party-- was the latest to try building a governing coalition. the group's leader alexis tsipras tried and failed to hammer out a deal with other parties. he has rejected greece's international bailout and the resulting austerity measures. in response, european leaders urged greece to keep its commitment to the bailout. >> greece has to respect this agreement as the other countries have to respect this agreement. the question of credibility is not only for greece, but for the euro area as a whole.
and this is very important to understand, that if this agreement is not respected it would be very negative for greece. >> holman: the continuing impasse in greece roiled world markets again today, pushing stocks down in europe and the u.s. on wall street, the dow jones industrial average lost 97 points to close at 12,835. the nasdaq fell 11 points to close at 2,934. mortgage giant fannie mae has posted its first profit since the government took it over, in 2008. the company reported today that it earned $2.7 billion during the first three months of this year. it said it will not need additional federal aid. fannie mae already has received $116 billion from the treasury, making it the costliest bailout of a single company. the nation's rural post offices won a reprieve today. the u.s. postal service abandoned a plan to shutter 3,700 sites, after running into strong community opposition. under the new plan, no locations
will close. but, more than 13,000 rural mail facilities may have to cut back hours of operation. postmaster general patrick donahoe spoke in washington: >> a balance here between costs and services is an important issue, and we think we ended up with a win-win here for our rural communities. plus, at the same time, we're able to take the necessary costs out of the postal service. we've listened to our customers. we've listened to the communities that we serve. we're going to keep listening. >> holman: the postal service has said it expects to lose $14 billion this year. the new plan will save an estimated half a billion dollars a year, once it's implemented. nicholas katzenbach-- a key advisor to presidents kennedy and johnson-- died overnight at his home in skillman, new jersey. in 1962, katzenbach wrote a justice department brief justifying the naval blockade during the cuban missile crisis. he also was point man for school desegregation-- confroing alabama governor george wallace
on national television, in 1963. katzenbach became attorney general in 1965 and later, served as undersecretary of state. he was 90 years old. another death of note, the hairstyling pioneer vidal sassoon passed away today, at his home in los angeles. in the 1960's, sassoon revolutionized haircuts for women with simple, wash-and-wear styles-- a major shift from the curled, piled and hair-sprayed look of the '50s. his salons started in london but expanded around the globe. he also sold a line of styling products with the advertising catchphrase, "if you don't look good, we don't look good." vidal sassoon was 84 years old. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: the tea party staged a vigorous comeback last night, defeating an iconic midwestern republican. >> have a good one. >> thank you very much. >> ifill: indiana voters have sent richard lugar to the u.s. senate six times since 1977, but his seventh try was not the
charm. >> hoosier republican primary voters have chosen their candidate for the united states senate. i congratulate richard mourdock on his victory in a hard-fought race. >> ifill: the 80-year-old lugar was crushed by state treasurer richard mourdock-- losing by more than 20 points, and winning only two of the state's 92 counties. the tea party-backed mourdock said lugar was out of touch with his home state and had grown too close to democrats in washington. but lugar, who has made his reputation mainly on matters of foreign policy, said such cooperation is needed now more than ever. >> we are experiencing deep political divisions in our society right now. these divisions have stalemated progress in critical areas. but these divisions are not insurmountable and i believe that people of good will regardless of party can work together for the benefit of our
country. >> ifill: democrats who worked with lugar in the senate praised him today. >> dick argued that bipartisanship isn't an end in itself, and it's sometimes mistaken for centrism, compromise. when in fact, it is really the way of what he called being a constructive public servant, it is the way they approach their job, with self-reflection, discipline and gauge in faith in the good will of others. >> ifill: republicans were largely silent, but not richard mourdock. >> mourdock! mourdock! >> ifill: at his victory rally, mourdock said hoosiers were not voting against lugar. they were voting for a different approach to governing. >> this race is not about animosity, it is about ideas. it is about the direction of the republican party. it is about the direction of our country. ( applause ) >> ifill: mourdock also pledged
to help alter that direction. >> hoosier republicans want to see the republicans inside the u.s. senate take a more conservative track, and we're looking forward to helping them do it. ( applause ) >> ifill: the departure of yet another mainstream moderate could further alter the senate landscape this fall. democrats are defending 23 seats in november, republicans only ten. the most hotly contested races for both parties are underway in massachusetts and nevada. president obama won indiana in 2008, but the state is up for grabs once again this fall, when mourdock will face democrat joe donnelly, a three-term congressman. with more on how lugar was defeated, and what it means, we turn to greg fettig, co-founder of hoosiers for a conservative senate and brian howey, a political analyst and author of the howey politics indiana newsletter. welcome, gentlemen. brian howie what happened last
night? your poll showed a ten-point gap but by the time it was said and done it was a 20-point drubbing. >> we were in the field in late march and senator lugar had a seven-point lead but it was at 42% and, of course, you know any incumbent, particularly somebody who's been there for three decades that's that far south of 50% is in big trouble and certainly poll that we released, the poll we released last friday had richard mourdock up 10% and our democratic pollster, fred yang basically said the bottom could drop out on senator lugar and that's certainly what happened. i don't think anybody was predicting a 20% margin but we knew it had a good chance to grow. >> ifill: how much of the bottom dropping out was caused by a change of mood in the indiana electorate and how much was self-inflicted by dick lugar himself? >> well, probably a little bit of a lot of things. his age, 80 years old, his
longevity, the fact that in our march poll congress had a 10% approval rating among hoosier voters. those are all problems. i've got to give the tea party credit. they came up with a candidate, they kept the field restricted to one challenger and then the lugar campaign really didn't handle the residency issue very well. that was in the headlines for, oh, about six weeks and it fed right into richard mourdock's theirty. so all those things it was like the classic death by a thousand nicks. >> pelley: a thousand nicks. greg fettig let's talk about what the tea party did in this case. was this an anti-lugar vote in the end or a pro-mourdock vote or neither? >> well, actually, we believe we have an excellent candidate with richard mourdock. he espouses was the tea party believes and that's back to constitutional conservatism. it's not so much it was strictly anti-richard lugar, it was anti-establishment moderates and like it or not our country
politically is polarized. that's the fact of the matter. not only are we fighting for the heart and soul of america that we see and should be based on the constitution but also within the g.o.p. so what you saw last night was really a purity purging of that. he's commanded by... commended by many as one that does reach across the aisle but unfortunately in our mind that's a one-way road. the other side, the democrats don't seem to do that and, in fact, they advocate that but in their mind that's... we surrender... we being the republicans would surrender to their ideals so that's just the society... sorry? >> ifill: so you think polarization is a good thing. >> no, not necessarily. it's just the fact of it's a reality today in american politics and i believe it's been perpetuated by one party but to reach across the aisle and work with them when they're not
working-- them being the democrats-- reciprocating. so like it or not it's the sad state of american politics but until one political ideology or the other wins, that's just the way it's going to be. >> ifill: dick lugar had a reputation for being an expert on foreign policy matters. do you think that made no dent in the electorate in a year when the economy is driving things? >> well, here in indiana overall it probably did not. in the tea party they're very well versed people within the movement that that does matter. i mean, the start treaty we weren't happy with and we think that's an old-fashioned 1980s approach to a completely different scenario than what we see today. but bottom line it's the economic crisis the country is in, the debt crisis that we face. we are going on four years now in this crisis with no end in sight. senator lugar when he first was elected to office the national debt was around $700 billion and now it's at $16 trillion. so i really don't and most of my
peers within the movement don't see how the same thing is going to get different results so it was really time for a change. >> ifill: brian howey, how much of a role did outside money play in this campaign. there was a lot of money coming into the tea party groups and a lot of money spent by an incumbent senator. did it shape what happened? >> it absolutely did. we're looking at... i've heard anywhere from $3 to $4 million that came in. it seemed like richard mourdock subcontracted his campaign out to the n.r.a., freedom works and they did a lot of bundling, direct mail, a lot of t.v. purchases. i'm not sure richard mourdock could have pulled this off if he didn't have the outside money coming in. and that concerns me. on one hand we have incumbents who seem impervious to defeat yet on the other hand we seem to be replacing it with a citizens united decision in which a certain opaqueness has come over the process. and i think it's going to really cause some problems down the road as this trend spreads to
more states and senate seats. >> ifill: mr. fettig, as a beneficiary of some of that money, what do you think? >> well, i'm going to disagree because senator lugar had a lot of outside money, fund-raisers in washington and new york city. he did have super pacs outside our border. as a senator, his votes don't just affect the citizens of all citizens of indiana but across the whole united states. all of the taxpayers across the united states are liable so to say nobody outside indiana should have influence whatsoever i don't believe in that. >> ifill: brief answer from both of you if you will, is inn nin play in the fall, starting with you mr. fettig? >> absolutely not. indiana is a red state i truly believe president obama won't be voted in in indiana in the fall. joe donnelly's got a limited following and name recognition and we in the tea party are not
done after yesterday. we continue to march forward and fully anticipate to be victorious in november as well. >> ifill: brian howey quickly. >> we had the race tide 35% each for joe donnelly and richard mourdock. under the past 24 years, we've had 16 years of democratic governors and evan bayh held the seat for two terms. a democrat can do it. >> ifill: brian howey, greg fettig, thank you both so much. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> brown: next, more details and a major twist in the foiled al qaeda terrorism plot. front pages around the country carried the news today, that the would-be terrorist intending to blow up a u.s. bound airliner was in fact a double agent from saudi arabia. he was supposed to slip past airport security, wearing a sophisticated bomb in his underwear. instead, the agent had infiltrated al-qaeda in the
arabian peninsula, based in yemen, and delivered the improvised explosive device, or i.e.d., into saudi and u.s. hands. >> we've seen over the last several days particularly with regard to the i.e.d. that was recently recovered that terrorism is and should be and continues to be our number one priority and the number one priority of a number of our intelligence agencies. >> brown: at a house hearing this morning, f.b.i. director robert mueller said the foiled plot underscores the importance of wide-ranging electronic surveillance powers due to expire at the end of this year. >> the access to information that enables us to identify not only persons within the u.s. but also without the u.s. that would hurt us, but also our intelligence agencies to operate overseas to pull in this information under the that's essential and remains essential. >> brown: house members
refrained from pressing mueller for more details on the double agent. since the story became public, some in and out of government have criticized the leaking of the information. dina temple raston has been covering this story for n.p.r. also with us: philip mudd, who had an extensive career in the c.i.a., including as deputy director of the counter- terrorist center and later with the f.b.i. he's now a private security consultant. dina, start with you. do we know whether this double agent was somehow inserted into al qaeda in yemen or was he already inside and somehow turned? >> well, my understanding is what happened is very much like using what al qaeda in the arabian peninsula's strategy was against the united states with the christmas day bomber in 2009 against the... using it against al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. specifically what they did is they found someone who went to the group and said "i want to be a suicide bomber and i've got a visa to the united states, will you help me martyr myself?" and essentially the group jumped
at the chance. one of the few things that al qaeda in the arabian peninsula can't seem to overcome is that it just doesn't have members who have the ability to travel very freely. and clearly even somebody who wasn't properly vetted. it was so exciting to them that they might be able to get someone in the united states that they ended up accepting an agent into their ranks. >> brown: philip mudd, how does this look to you? how hard is it to infiltrate and pull off this kind of a double agent effort? >> my experience is this is very difficult. if you go back ten years ago, we're trying to infiltrate al qaeda in pakistan and there are countermeasures against us. with human sources we're quite good. their counterintelligence programs are excellent. here you're dealing with an al qaeda organization on the periphery. i suspect it might be a bit easier. remember they've suffered over the past weeks and months by drone strikes some of which i'm guessing have been caused by human sources who have penetrated the organization. so they're looking around for people like this. it's difficult to get people like this in.
>> brown: when you say it might be easier in this case, because of the connection with saudi arabia? why would bit easier in yemen? >> i think there are a couple reasons it might be. you're talking about an organization in yemen that doesn't have the operational experience of the al qaeda core guys in a place like pakistan or afghanistan. the second is we have two states here-- saudi arabia and yemen-- but there are tribal connections across the border, very close family ties. that might offer an opportunity if for someone to be coming from up north and join these groups in the amorphous tribal areas of yemen. >> brown: dina, in this case it required close coordination between saudi and american intelligence, i guess, right? do we know what the roles of the two countries were in this? >> well, our understanding is that, in fact, that the c.i.a. was not in control of this plot but another foreign intelligence agency was. and they were the ones who relayed everything to the c.i.a. the c.i.a. knew what was going on, apparently, but they weren't sort of directing the plot itself. and i think that's important to realize that there was that once
removed. >> brown: dina, to stay with you on the question of the drone strike, we also learned this double agent, in fact, did help direct a drone strike. >> yes, what's interesting is that the man who gave him his marching orders, the one who told him to do... who gave him the bomb, essentially and told him to go on this mission was a man named fahd alqoso, they was chief expersonal operations guy for a.q.a.p. he basically replaced radical imam anwar al-awlaki who was going to concentrate on the west and this is the very man hit by a drone last weekend. we understand that wasn't a coincidence. >> brown: philip mudd, how close are u.s. and saudi intelligence agencies as this point? >> i would say very close. for simple reasons. when you work in a security service, there there might be political pressure, diplomatic pressure. that doesn't affect security service it is a are looking themselves at a terrorist threat
and saying if we don't cooperate somebody will die. that's an incredible motivator for cooperation. >> brown: is the assumption now that whoever this person was-- the double agent-- and of course there would be family members. somehow he and they must be in a secure situation? >> i think that's a safe assumption. remember, we have a long history of doing this. if you go back to the soviet union, you had people working full time to bring in double agents from russia into this country. the same kinds of people will be looking at this man and his family and not only giving him money and a home but giving him a life. he has to rebuild an entire life after this incident. >> brown: dina, what are people in the intelligence field telling you about the possible impact of this on al qaeda in yemen and our future ability to thwart them in other possible attempts. >> well, phil mudd actually alluded to it. something happens inside the organization when you get infiltrated. everybody becomes very suspicious of everyone else. what that ends up doing is sort
of slowing up the process of getting a plot off the ground. in other words, they keep looking over their shoulders to see if there's someone they ought to be looking twice at. someone who might be passing on information. because of that, they're extra careful and that gives perhaps either saudi intelligence or u.s. intelligence a little more time to thwart a plot. >> brown: what's your sense of that? the kind of thing you can do once and it's harder to do another time because everybody gets more careful? what happens? >> i would say harder but not too hard. remember, these folks are motivate bid religious conviction. they're never going to go home again. they can't and they won't. so as dina said, they might go to ground for a bit but that's a short-term solution. you have people who in yemen are gaining ground. they're gaining tkpwr +*epbs against the government. they may have more safe haven to plan operations like this. and the bomb maker who created this bomb and created the detroit bomb in december of 2009 is still around. so they might disappear for a few days, a few weeks, a month or two but guaranteed they will come back again.
>> brown: what's your sense of the question i raised in the setup about it becoming public. in a sort of unusual way, i guess, raebging the story. does that have implications? is that something people are worried or talking about? >> potentially they should. having sat on these on the inside you can guarantee when you're watching one of these that it will become public one day. the plot will be public, the plotter and penetration will become public. the question i would have is whether this was leak sod soon that we lost any potential to find the bomb maker. in that was in fact the case, remember, it was this plotter, the fellow on the inside of the operation, who gave us the operational commander who was killed in yemen on sunday. if he was taken out of the picture so soon that we couldn't find the bomb maker, that's a tragedy. >> brown: dina, i see you nodding. that sounds right to you? >> not only sounds exactly right but also the longer that this bomb maker al asari is in a.q.a.p., the more opportunity he has to make bombs as well.
>> pelley>> brown: thank you boy much. >> thank you. >> you're very welcome. >> ifill: next, helping homeless youth in cambodia recover their childhoods and reach for a better future. special correspondent fred de sam lazaro has our story. >> reporter: each day, workers with a group called friends international try to redefine normal for street kids across cambodia's capital, phnom penh. in make-shift gatherings like this one-part kindergarten part clinic, the children come to get cuts and scratches tended, to play board games or a rare luxury: to shampoo their hair. normal for these children is a grinding work routine: scavenging in garbage dumps or if they're lucky, peddling trinkets to tourists in this city of two million. >> you have about an estimated 20,000 children living and working on the streets of phnom
penh. that is actually a huge number for a city like phnom penh, which is relatively small. >> reporter: sebastian marot founded friends international 18 years ago. it now serves 95% of this city's homeless youth. a former french foreign service worker, marot took a break to visit the region. >> i arrived in cambodia first of april '94 and found a situation that was very difficult to imagine when you see cambodia today. no roads, no electricity, no running water, everyone had guns and used them. so it was the wild west is the best description possible. so not a place you want to stay. but what happened is that i met kids. >> reporter: he says he was moved by the plight of so many hungry children and decided to stay and find a way to get them into productive lives and off the street. those streets are being transformed today. the old temples and new high- rises are being spiffed up to
attract foreign tourists and investors. but phnom penh has also lured thousands of children and their families from the impoverished rural areas of a country still recovering from the genocidal khmer rouge era from 1975 to '79-- a period in which an estimated two million people died. it's a difficult existence, the children often are forced to support the family or at least fend for themselves. for many, it's a losing struggle, says marot. >> the biggest problem we're facing now is actually the, the serious increase in drug use in this population, which is relatively new. it started in late '90s. there was no drugs before. and, suddenly it exploded and now 80% of the kids are using. some glue sniffing. a lot of amphetamine and heroin is increasing. >> reporter: the government, struggling to control the flow of drugs from the neighboring
countries, has responded with a crackdown on the street. the police are always on the lookout for young people like these; most engaged in petty crime and prostitution to support their drug habits. >> the government needs to show that there is no more street kid to get quick fixes and that's putting kids in prison. that's cleaning the streets and putting people away, out of the eye but that's not a solution. >> reporter: friends international-- better known in the khmer language as mith sam lanh-- is also on the lookout for these youth, but with a very different approach. >> ( translated ): mith sam lanh comes here and they educate us about h.i.v., about drugs and so on. we don't have enough to eat or a place to stay, so we take risks. we could be arrested. >> reporter: along with offering clean needles, condoms and lessons on safe behavior, friends international counselors encourage these youth to come to
a drop-in center for a meal or a bath, and when they are ready, detox, a place to live and an education. 23-year-old sothea has lived on the street on and off for seven years. he has struggled with drug addiction but returned to friends for his fourth attempt to get clean and acquire job skills >> ( translated ): when i first came here i wasn't comfortable, i wasn't ready for the learning environment so i quit and went back out on the street to make money. now, the most difficult part is to try and keep myself away from drugs, from my friends on the street. but i try not to go. i can quit drugs, i can stay away from those friends. i don't want to let my parents down again or my very good friends here at the program. >> reporter: if he finishes, he'lhave several options to develop marketable skills. friends offers training in everything from automotive mechanics to construction skills to hairdressing. even after four attempts, marot says there is a good chance sothea will eventually succeed.
>> we haven't found really any child that was a lost cause if you want. we worked very hard with many children for a long time to be able to... to get them to a level that was required but we were always reasonably successful. >> reporter: friends also started and runs three of phnom penh's finest restaurants, training grounds for students and a source of income for its programs. 17-year-old kunthea was recruited by friends international on the street. she was selling flowers to support her family after her father died. >> ( translated ): my experience with friends international has been great. now i can read, and i love cooking the most. >> reporter: but having kunthea enter a training program meant she was no longer able to help support her family. she still lives at home with her mother and three siblings, so an important part of the friends international approach is to help not just the youth but also
their parents. it now employs kunthea mother, sok chenda, to sew handicrafts that are sold in its boutique, another business that funds friends international programs. >> ( translated ): friends international help me a lot, without them providing me training and vocational skills i could not feed my four children. >> people say why do you put your kids in friends international? they won't make any money. better to take your daughter to work in the garment industry so she can make more money, but i don't. my children will have a better further than me. >> reporter: many graduates of friends international have already gone on to a better future. in two years, darun rin says he picked up culinary and interpersonal skills and even a bit of english. >> they trained me how to like cook the food, to serve the food to customer and how to talk friendly, a lot of skills.
>> reporter: darun rin got a job as a chef for the singaporean ambassador, then went on to open his own restaurant and is thinking of more. >> keep going like, maybe one more, two more. my plan like that, we don't know yet. let's see. >> reporter: for every success story, however, there are many young people still struggling. marot says the best shot at success is to intervene as early as possible in the children's lives, to provide early childhood education before they can fall victim to drugs. all this costs money. restaurants and craft shops pay for about a third of friends international's $6.5 million annual global budget. marot says it will take years to become self-sufficient and until then, programs like these will depend on donations. those have been hurt by the global economic slowdown. >> the current crisis is such
that many of our donors just are not renewing contracts, have reduced the amounts, have less proposals than before. luckily, we have these businesses that allow to bridge some but that goes only that far because our sustainability is limited. >> reporter: but people watching this will say, you know, why doesn't the national government help you? >> in some countries, this is feasible. say for example, we should be able to access money from the thai government, from indonesian government, cambodia. the budgets are not-- they're donor dependent themselves. >> reporter: despite the funding challenges, the program now operates in eight countries in southeast asia and central america, serving some 60,000 young people. and friends international was recently invited to start a program. for the first time in the united
states, it will be in las vegas. >> ifill: fred's reporting is a partnership with the under-told stories project at saint mary's university in minnesota. >> brown: finally tonight, to the story behind the story as the u.s. and china scrambled last week over the fate of a chinese activist. ray suarez has our look. >> suarez: it took a week of intense high-level negotiations to secure the apparent release of activist chen guanggeng. for more on how all this came about, we turn to steven lee myers, diplomatic correspondent for the "new york times." steven, there were days of tense standoff then an announcement that it was all over. what have you found out since the apparent settlement was going on behind the scenes? >> well, in fact, you had two agreements. the first one fell apart almost immediately after it was announced. the original deal is he would stay... chen would stay inside
china. and study at the university. one of seven universities as soon as he left the embassy and went to the hospital he began to speak to his wife and lawyer and other advocates and had second thoughts and that deal then seemed to fall apart when he decided he wanted to be in the united states after all he asked for asylum. that set me motion another two days of intense round-the-clock negotiation to figure out what to do. >> suarez: from your story it sounds like the chinese were putting heat on the americans but really it was chen who was driving events, wasn't it? >> well, both are true. the chinese were not pleased at all about this situation. in fact, one of the things that was extraordinary about the diplomacy is that the chinese don't believe that they have to negotiate anything with the americans when it comes to one of its own citizens. the art of this... of these negotiations that took place
were essentially to try to negotiate agreement without acknowledging that they were negotiating anything. they came to a very carefully crafted understanding as diplomats like to put it. but then chen changed his mind and that put the administration on a terrible spot because they couldn't now not honor chen's request to come to the united states. and that set in motion another round of talks. the chinese were furious because they thought they had an agreement and chen changed his mind and then the u.s. had to go back and say "let's try to do this again." >> suarez: of course, this all happened under the umbrella of an existing high-level trip to china by a senior american delegation. were they talking about other things and almost politely avoiding the chen issue until finally secretary clinton had to bring it up? >> these talks, as you said, involved everything but human rights and certainly not chen's case. and so the first couple of days
that secretary clinton was in beijing she was talking about a host of other issues: trade issues, economic issues, currency issues, global issues like iran's nuclear program and what's happening in syria. all through these meetings while the negotiators were quietly behind the scenes trying to resolve the crisis. she went about the business of this meeting which was important, i think, to both countries. it was only after chen changed his mind and the u.s. had to go back and say "we had one agreement, now we need a second agreement" that she was able to intervene. she really had to intervene at that point. and i think partly because of the way she had handled the meetings thus far the chinese were willing to once again return and try to sort it out. >> suarez: what was the chinese reaction to hillary clinton bringing up the chen matter in the context of these talks? >> i was told that they were furious. beyond furious. they were... they, again, thought they had quietly resolved something and now the americans were coming back and
asking them to do it all over again. >> suarez: officially, according to all sides, this thing has been wrapped up. but has it really. is it clear that there's been a final settlement, a durable settlement? >> well, i think, again, as you said, both sides seem to want to resolve this in a quiet way. it ended up not being very quiet in the end. but the... he has been promised by the chinese that he would be granted a visa to travel abroad and study at n.y.u. in new york. the americans say they've been able to see him, he's being treated and secretary clinton said yesterday she had high hopes that soon this would be resolved and he would be able to leave with his family. >> suarez: at this point in the game is it clear how long it will be until chen is able to leave china? >> it's not known publicly. but i've been told that it could be a matter of days before he's, one, treated. he is quite ill, more ill than was first thought, not just the foot he broke when he escaped but also other medical issues.
so i think that it's going to be a matter of some days yet. >> suarez: steven lee myers of the "new york times," thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day: president obama said he now believes same-sex marriage should be legal. but republican mitt romney said he remains opposed. and the political turmoil in greece continued, as a leftist party failed to form a governing coalition, one day after a conservative party fell short. >> ifill: online, there's more on the fallout from indiana's republican primary. kwame holman has a preview. >> holman: bipartisanship in the wake of the lugar loss is the subject of this week's political checklist with gwen, judy and political editor christina bellantoni. that's on our politics page. on our world page, we have a photo essay about the journey some in sudan are making to escape violence along the border with south sudan. and on art beat, we look at an exhibition of work by moroccan-
born artist lalla essaydi at the national museum of african art. her photographs explore the intersection of faith, culture and gender. all that and more is on our web site: newshour.pbs.org. jeff? >> ifill: and again to our honor >> brown: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on thursday, we'll look at the lifesaving-- but to some, cruel and inhumane-- scientific research done on chimpanzees. i'm jeffrey brown. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> it c supporting progress for 200 years. it and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century.
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